Steel Mills

USW ArcelorMittal Negotiations Continue

Written by Sandy Williams

USW and ArcelorMittal negotiations resumed last week with hope of a possible compromise after a tentative contract was reached at US Steel. According to the latest information update from the USW, an impasse between the parties still continues concerning retiree benefits and contract language that could affect future labor agreements.

“While ArcelorMittal has dropped its demand for active employees to pay monthly premiums for medical coverage, the company continues to propose drastic changes to the designs of our active and retiree benefits plans and tripling our retirees’ healthcare premiums,” wrote the USW negotiating committee.

“Many of the protections of our contracts were negotiated specifically to prevent employers from unilaterally changing them, and the company’s proposals are geared toward giving management more control.

“For example, the company cannot currently change benefits or increase premiums on retirees without mutual agreement from our union, but the company’s insistence on eliminating lag dates and selecting vendors at its sole discretion pose a great threat to our ability to protect our benefits in the future.

“Similarly, although the company has backed off its demand to reduce vacation rates of pay, ArcelorMittal is now insisting on the right to force workers to schedule vacations when it suits management.”

“As we have pointed out in previous updates and discussed at membership meetings, the company’s demands would immediately lower the standards of living for our members and retirees. These proposals are clearly designed to undermine our ability to defend what we have earned in future negotiations.

The USW committee reiterated that it remains confident in its ability to negotiate a fair contract with the company.

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